Observations while watching the Home Run Derby:
Morneau was impressive in the home runs he hit, but he is clearly not built for a home run derby type of setting. Two of his home runs were to the farthest part of the ball park.
Long commercial break as soon as Morneau is done, this might take awhile tonight.
Is it really necessary to have Joe Morgan, Dusty Baker and Chris Berman on the field, Kenny Mayne in a kayak in McCovey Cove, Peter Gammons and Erin Andrews on the sidelines, AND Karl Ravich, John Kruk and Steve Phillips in the studio back in Bristol???
Steve Phillips talking about how Holliday is a line drive hitter and his first swing is an absolute BOMB to left field, the furthest thing from a line drive. Four of Holliday’s five home runs have been bombs, not line drives.
Holliday is done, at least they are having Gammons interview Barry Bonds during a break instead of a set of commercials. Barry Bonds just blamed his lack of home runs after 751 on the commemorative balls that Major League Baseball is using in his games to track the home run record. Bonds is very pissed about something now talking about how people talk about him privately, yet publicly…very funny to see Bonds taking it all out on Gammons.
Magglio Ordonez just hit a solid home run (his first), but I could see him coming in last.
Back to Bonds…he doesn’t think Hank Aaron needs to be there for his record-breaking home run. “I don’t know what a commissioner does,” in regards to Bud Selig being there. Berman and Baker think that Selig will be there when Bonds breaks the record.
6 outs, Magglio still only has 1 home run. 1 more out, finally another home run…Maggs finishes with 2…why is he here again? Gary Sheffield should be here instead and should certainly be on the All-Star team.
Big fan of the super slow-motion replays.
Albert Pujols is up next…so of course, time for a commercial break.
Pujols is in the shade and the pitcher is in the sun…shouldn’t someone have thought of that? Not sure what they would have done, but that has to affect some hitters, no?
A-Rod talking with Baker, Morgan and Berman and mentioned his two game-winning home runs in April…came off like he is full of himself, which he is. And now he just mentioned that he has to play in tomorrow’s game because of all the people who voted for him…just great. He also just mentioned that he loves playing in pinstripes, but it doesn’t sound like he wants to stay.
Pujols hit 4 bombs, twice as many as Magglio…again, why is he here?
Kenny Mayne is changing equipment, as not a single ball has come near him. Glad ESPN brought him along…
Alex Rios up next…Nice swing out of Rios, not sure he is made for this type of competition.
Rios just smashed one to dead center for his fourth, doubling Ordonez.
Number 5 for Rios, maybe he is good for this competition…
Forgot to mention before, Arod is in a full suit, saying he has dinner reservations in an hour…and that he cleans up quickly after Berman says he cleans up well.
Rios finishes with 5, tied for first with Matt Holliday.
Why don’t they have the players wear their own uniforms anymore? It seems especially important this year since Ryan Howard has to wear an All-Star “uniform” without actually being named to the team.
Commercial break before Prince Fielder hits.
Holliday has the two longest home runs so far…great call Steve Phillips on the line-drive comment.
Hey, back to the studio, let’s see what Phillips has up his sleeve now…apparently nothing of note.
Fielder just SMASHED one to center and the studio guys are still doing commentary…
Back to the field, Fielder hits one out to left, short of the water.
Bonds and Arod talking to each other on the field, wonder what they could be talking about.
Morgan just states that Fielder is overlooked because he is in Milwaukee even though EVERYONE is calling him the first half MVP of the National League…great observation.
Fielder is hitting some moon shots, but they aren’t leaving the yard.
The shade is right on the pitchers screen right now and the field guys are finally talking about it.
Fielder hits another bomb to left, not wet though.
One hits the water, but it’s foul. Second wet foul ball today, no where near Kenny Mayne. Mayne says he’s been staring at the sun for the last hour…again, glad ESPN sent him out there.
9 outs for Fielder, only 3 home runs.
10 outs, last one was 1 foot short in dead center. Not sure he will make it out of the first round and my only thought is, “wow, he is big.”
Erin Andrews interviewing Ben Sheets…maybe she should be here. Sheets’ son is sitting on his lap and just staring into the camera…cute kid.
Next up is Vlad. He pees on his hands…
The pitcher is finally in the shade, maybe the home run totals will increase.
David Ortiz is bringing out a special bat for Vlad…this is great! Can’t wait to hear what it is. Vlad grounds out with the new bat. Vlad is smashing the ball, just no where near a home run.
There is one for Vlad, wow that was far. David Ortiz just checked his iPhone…I really want one of those. Last HR for Vlad was 449 feet.
Current count: Holliday and Rios with 5, Morneau and Pujols with 4.
Vlad just hit his third, 4 outs to go…looks like he might be starting to heat up with the “Papi bat.”
JUST hooked one foul, that was close.
Ryan Howard is in the batting cage, he wants this bad…maybe to prove to everyone he should have been on the All-Star team.
Vlad hits his fourth, clinching a spot in the next round.
And there is #5, an absolute smash. Erin Andrews is asking David Ortiz about the bat, I still can’t figure out what is so special about it.
463 feet for Vlad’s last home run, new high for the day.
Vlad smokes another one just foul, he might kill someone with a ball tonight.
Vlad has clinched a spot in the next round with Holliday and Pujols.
Commercial break before we see Ryan Howard…I hope he hits 10, this is not nearly as exciting as previous years. So much for the Justin Morneau and Prince Fielder predictions.
Quick shot of Vlad being interviewed, with David Ortiz next to him. I can’t believe that he still doesn’t speak English. How long has he been here?
Kobayashi commercial for Coors Light, silly.
I can see why Bill Simmons does these running diaries, they are actually kind of fun.
This Is Our Country commercials are back on…I was sick of these months ago…
Are these Subway Super Stuffed subs really as big as they look in the commercial? What happened to healthy eating at Subway?
Back to Bristol and Ravich shows that Arod is still talking to Bonds. At least the three studio guys are standing on the fake ESPN field with a giant screen behind them. Kruk mentions that Phillips’ choice, Fielder, is out. Glad we have his expert analysis tonight.
Time for Howard, people are ready for some home runs…
Three straight outs for Howard, this is heading to be the worst Home Run Derby ever…
Howard hits one as far as you can and not hit it out…and the backwards hat has come off.
5 outs for Howard, 0 home runs…what is going on here?
Howard gets an “oh!” from Baker and Morgan, ESPN decides to show Bonds and Arod again.
Howard rips one into the players area, that was pretty funny.
He finally gets his first, dead center. Glad we had all that analysis before the Derby about how he is pulling the ball this year.
8 outs, 1 home run. This is certainly the worst first round ever. Bobby Abreu’s 41 is well in tact.
Howard hits his second, pulled it but still not in the water.
1 out left, not good. Maybe he doesn’t deserve to be here…
#3, long ball..needs one more to advance, or at least tie, not sure what the rule is on that one.
He gets under the last one, unable to advance. I am seriously bummed, probably not nearly as much as Howard.
Magglio, Fielder and Howard do not advance.
477 was Howard’s longest home run, also the longest of the night…
5 swing “swing-off” between Morneau and Pujols to advance to the second round, Morneau is up first…he has been sitting for more than an hour. Rod Gardenhire is warming up.
Red hats and orange jerseys for the American League? Yikes.
Players get 5 swings, that’s it, here we go…
First swing: popped out to center
Second swing: line drive to left, some kid almost got killed
Third swing: JUST short in right
Fourth swing: Pop out to short right-center.
Fifth swing: off the platform in right field, unable to get in the water.
Glad he at least got one…
Time for Pujols, two makes him advance…or maybe we will have another swing off…Berman just said the next swing-off will be three swings.
First swing: GONE! Bomb to left.
Second swing: GOODBYE, might be the furthest tonight. Santana and Hunter are giving it to Morneau, hopefully this starts Pujols for the night.
Erin Andrews with Pujols: He’s just glad he made it to the second round. Also mentioned that it’s tough to see the ball right now…surprise, surprise.
1 hour and 36 minutes and we just finished the first round…ESPN had this measured at two hours, 8pm-10pm eastern time…great job guys.
19 total home runs for Holliday (5), Rios (5), Vlad (5) and Pujols (4)…I’m sure Bobby Abreu is happy that his record of 41 total home runs in 2005 will stay in tact. I am hoping that he is slightly upset that his 5 home runs THIS YEAR is embarrassingly low for a record-breaking Home Run Derby hitter.
Nice long commercial break before the second round…we wouldn’t want the momentum of a “swing-off” to keep people excited.
Holliday and Rios have been sitting awhile, which can’t be good for them in the second round…although maybe it won’t matter at all, who knows.
Kenny Mayne is out of the kayak because he had to use the bathroom…and now he is joking that he is going to left field because we only have right-handed hitters left. Glad ESPN put him out there…
First up is Holliday. Baker is picking Holliday, Vlad for Morgan. Berman picked Pujols to start so he is still good.
Holliday hits a bomb on his second swing, not even close to a line drive.
He hits another bomb (non-line drive), maybe the rest helped.
#3, he’s heating up…
Holliday tries to go the other way, short…maybe he should keep pulling the ball.
…and he does, another bomb for #4. Berman tells us it was 475 feet.
Holliday crushes another one; could he win this as the guy who filled in when no one else wanted to do it?
GONE, #6, 6 outs to go.
He just missed two in a row and he looks upset about it…I think he’s in it to win it.
#12 on the night looks like the furthest home run tonight. Holliday apparently is having his brother pitch to him…must be a fun night for the Holliday family. Still waiting to hear how far the last one was…
There goes #13, he’s feeling it.
Holliday misses #14 by inches, looks like he might be a sure thing for the finals with the way the rest of the night has been going. This kid is really good…and none of his home runs were line-drives, thanks Steve Phillips.
Peter Gammons interviewing Ryan Howard and all they are talking about is how hard it is to see the ball. “It was much harder than I thought, although some guys were talking about it before,” said Howard. Sounds about right. Howard seems like a really cool guy, he is slowly becoming my favorite non-Yankee player.
Alex Rios is up and as he tries to step into the box, an ESPN camera man is standing on the plate…nice.
HUGE scoreboard in center field right behind the pitcher showing the hitter, gotta be weird to see yourself as you swing.
First home run is to dead center, solid power out of Rios, who is 6’6″ apparently, but very thin.
Another home run to dead center, if he starts pulling the ball he could really put up some numbers tonight.
ESPN shows Vlad waiting, speaking Spanish again…does he know any English?
Rios just misses one to right-center…can someone teach him how to pull the ball?
Rios pulls one and it goes out…hopefully that will show him what he needs to do.
Pulls another one and hits another one out.
Pulls a third one and misses by 1 foot.
Erin Andrews with Matt Holliday: Thanks his brother for pitching to him.
Rios pulls one to left center, hits another one out.
Rios pulls one to left center, hits another one out (yes, he did this two swings in a row).
Rios clearly has picked up on pulling the ball, hitting his 12th home run of the night to left-center.
Rios smashes one to center, slightly to right…nice shot with one out to go.
And he pulls another that just fits around the left field foul pole; he’s got 14 for the night, now in first place.
There goes #15, just over the wall in left.
And number 16 is to dead center, can’t hit that much farther.
#17! This guy is feeling it and he can’t stop smiling…glad to see he is enjoying this.
Last out goes 403 feet, standing ovation for Rios. 5 home runs with 1 out to go, earning $17,000 each swing for State Farm.
Vlad and Pujols are really going to have to hit some dingers to catch up to Holliday; I think Rios is out of reach.
Alex Rios tells Erin Andrews he has no idea why he hit so many. Rafael Belliard is apparently pitching to Rios and it’s clearly working. According to baseball-reference.com, Belliard played 1,155 games in 17 seasons in the Majors and finished his career with 508 hits and 2 home runs.
Back to Bristol to find out that Vlad needs 8 home runs to advance (he needs 8 to tie). Phillips thinks Pujols and/or Vlad can do it, let’s see if he’s as right as he was about Holliday. Vlad is digging into the box and the three Bristol Bozos are still yapping away.
Vlad is going sans hat for Round 2 and pops up on his first swing.
Vlad rips one and Baker and Morgan say it is out…a fan clearly lowered his glove over the wall and it bounced back into play…it’s not a home run and the three guys are baffled they didn’t give it to him…not good when you have to start giving guys home runs in a Home Run Derby.
Vlad’s second home run almost hits the Coke bottle and Pujols is in the cage warming up.
6 outs for Vlad, only 3 home runs in this round. And there goes number 4, 9 for the night. Vlad doesn’t look like he’s feeling it tonight; maybe they told him the rules in English.
And just as I make fun of him, he CRUSHES one to left. Wow that was far. PA announcer just said it was 474 feet. That is a long way from home plate.
Morgan mentions he doesn’t wear batting gloves, but doesn’t mention he pees on his hands instead.
Hits another one, 6 for the round, 11 on the night.
#12 on the night is another bomb and there is a full fight for the ball in the stands. I just saw some guy’s feet by another guy’s head.
Misses one to dead center by a couple of feet, 1 more needed to tie Holliday.
Vlad is taping his fingers now; I feel like he should have done that before he started…
Vlad takes one pitch and then hits one out to tie Holliday. Berman just peed himself. One more to eliminate Holliday…
AND THERE IT GOES, ALMOST HITTING THE GLOVE IN LEFT-CENTER. Berman is standing up at the desk as his pants are too wet to sit down. 503 feet for that last one, longest of the night. Holliday is eliminated, Baker says it was a “good night for my man.”
Vlad finishes with 9 in the round, 14 overall. Pujols up next, needs 10 to tie Vlad.
Since Vlad doesn’t speak English, Gammons has to interview Willie McCovey about McCovey’s cove…just great.
Erin Andrews talking to J.J. Putz about volunteering in the community. A nice message, would still love to find out what Vlad is thinking/feeling.
Pujols digs in, wouldn’t mind seeing him hit 20 here, as most of the crowd would I assume. He needs 11 to advance against Alex Rios; that’s right, Alex Rios.
Kenny Mayne is now standing in the front row in left field, but is still wearing the life jacket and he tells them that he is going to blow his whistle every time a home run is hit. He also asks what the delay is and I am thinking the same thing.
Berman says Pujols needs 10 to advance, then says he needs it to stay in contention…can we get this right just once tonight?
First swing is a bomb to right, as his the second swing. Maybe he’s feeling it. Berman drops an “Albert ‘Winnie the’ Pujols, which he used in the intros; dumb both times.
Pujols hits his third without recording an out.
Just noticed the guy pitching to Pujols is wearing a glove. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen that.
Berman and Morgan are talking about how hard hitting 10 home runs is; clearly it’s tough this year.
4 straight outs following the 3 home run swings.
Teenage wasteland is blasting in the stadium; I doubt Pujols asked for that to be played while he was hitting.
2 more outs, 6 in a row, not looking good for Pujols.
And of course, the next swing is a home run. Berman is getting nervous about his prediction.
Pujols connects on #5 of the round, #9 for the night, but he still doesn’t look that comfortable.
Berman thinks one of the kids is going to get hurt trying to catch the balls in the outfield and Baker said he told his son he was too young to go out there…isn’t that the same son who was a bat boy when the Giants went to the World Series and almost got taken out during a play at the plate? Was it J.T. Snow who had to pick him up after he crossed the plate so that the next guy wouldn’t crush him? I think he was 3 years old when that happened.
Pujols crushes one for #10 overall, 2 outs to go. It just doesn’t feel like he has enough.
There goes #11, still 2 outs to go; 4 home runs needed to advance.
Got under another one, time for the gold ball. 3 home runs to tie, 4 to advance. Pujols takes a pound from his son…it would be cool if he could get on a run here…
There goes another one, 3 more to advance…looks like the pound helped. Maybe he should do that before every swing.
$237,000 raised for the State Farm charity…still unsure what the money goes towards or what State Farm is raising money for.
Pujols gets another, still in it…13 on the night, 1 to force a swing-off, 2 to advance. Huge smile on Pujols’ son’s face.
Pujols smokes one in the air, Baker says he definitely has it…which means it’s 15 feet short. Pujols should have gone for another pound.
Final Round: Alex Rios vs. Vladimir Guerrero. Anyone who predicted that one should win $1,000,000.
So what happens if Guerrero wins? How are they going to interview him? Will David Ortiz speak for him? Do Erin Andrews or Peter Gammons speak Spanish? I am pulling for Vlad big time just to find out what happens. I wonder if they will just ignore the interview as if they never do it.
Back to Bristol, Phillips picks Vlad because he spends less energy on his swing than Rios. Kruk picks Rios because his swing is smoother than Vlad’s. Glad we sorted that one out.
Rios up first and Berman reports that Pujols is complaining that his two swing-off home runs don’t count.
Guillermo Celis from ESPN Deportes is interviewing Vlad in Spanish, talking about not using batting gloves and then translating back to English.
Alex Rios has 2 home runs and 6 outs…still trying to hit to center, how did he forget about hitting to left?
Vlad is in the cage, but is just hanging out with his family.
Rios smokes one down the line and almost hits Kevin Mitchell. Baker jokes he can catch it barehanded, which is a great blast from the past.
Rios finishes with 2, never getting into a rhythm. Vlad needs 3 home runs to win, which means this will go down as one of the worst, if not the worst, Home Run Derby ever. The only thing that will make it worse is if Vlad can only hit 1…
ESPN goes to commercial to figure out how the hell they are going to interview Vlad if he wins. While showing a highlight of Vlad, they use a Spanish version of the telecast in what appears to be an attempt to convince everyone watching at home that they’ve been doing everything in Spanish all night and that we are weird for speaking English.
Back to the studio, Kruk says that hitting 3 home runs is a lot as he tries to beat Phillips on predicting the winner on their third attempts.
Morgan predicts 4 swings to win it, Baker thinks 5.
First one is a bomb, 2 to win…
Second swing is an out…
Third is an out…looks like Morgan is wrong.
Fourth is too…maybe Kruk was right.
Fifth is off the wall in right, 6 outs to go, 2 home runs to win.
Vlad sneaks one over the wall, we are tied. Vlad needs 1 to win and all his boys crowd around him having NO IDEA he hasn’t won yet.
Out #5 is just short of the warning track. Next pitch, next out. 4 outs to go, he only needs ONE to win.
Pops up another one, starting to get silly. Rios is laughing that he hasn’t lost yet.
And with three outs to go, Vlad smashes one gone and just walks out of the batters box to be mobbed by his friends and family. Dominican flag in his hand and I think I just heard Joe Morgan speaking Spanish.
Time for possibly the best interview in baseball history.
Scratch that, of course we need to have a commercial break so ESPN can figure out if the SAP button translates Spanish to English for those viewing at home. Unfortunately, my TV doesn’t have an SAP button (or if it does, I have no idea where it is), so I won’t ever know for sure.
I just saw toothless, one-eyed Freddy Sez in the new Mastercard commercial. I am in shock.
Back to coverage, Morgan asks Baker what he is going to do with his kid…Baker responds that his wife is going to………who knows as Berman welcomes everyone back.
Erin Andrews hosting the post-Derby ceremony, Dave Gonzales from State Farm and Bob Dupuy, MLB President and COO giving Vlad the trophy and…NO INTERVIEW AT ALL. Instead, Berman, Baker and Morgan doing a little recap of the night. I couldn’t be more disappointed. Just the way I should feel after the worst Home Run Derby ever.
Vladimir Guerrero is this year’s champ after hitting 17 home runs on the night, just 24 short of the record.
Before they signoff, ESPN shows Vlad getting interviewed by Guillermo Celis one more time. Unfortunately after watching three hours of the Home Run Derby, I have no idea how Vlad feels or felt all night.
I can’t wait for next year’s final, which I am sure will be Juan Pierre against hometown favorite Melky Cabrera!